Inflation alters domestic tourism choices

Inflation and rising prices have significantly impacted local tourists' holiday preferences this season in Türkiye. Previously, those who found luxury hotel chains too expensive opted for boutique hotels and guesthouses. Recently, due to the increased prices across all accommodation options, many have shifted their plans entirely.

Even restaurants, which have become costly for many, now have available reservations, which was once rare.

However, the real issue is that hotels and restaurants, already considered expensive by locals, have become costly for foreign tourists, especially for Russians. This has led to a noticeable decline in demand.

Tourism sector in Türkiye is at a stanstill - Mehmet İşler Tourism sector in Türkiye is at a stanstill - Mehmet İşler

Tourism industry struggles with costs

According to tourism professionals, inflation, minimum wage increases, and rising costs are forcing them to raise prices. However, tourists have a different perspective.

In an interview with HaberTürk, Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB) Izmir BTK Chairman Kıvanç Meriç said the signs of this problem began last year and have been discussed for a long time. He emphasized that this issue is not unique to this year.

“Türkiye's main growth point was its price advantage, which we have lost,” Meriç said. “We achieved significant growth abroad with our quality in facilities, human resources, and pricing policy. But we have lost this advantage in the last two years. The increase in domestic prices, without a corresponding rise in foreign exchange rates, has widened the gap, which is now around 30-35 percent. Consequently, we are losing strength against our competitors.”

Tourism industry feels the pinch

Meriç explained that the decline in demand is creating a supply issue. “Due to the decrease in demand, supply should also decrease, but prices remain high because of Türkiye's inflation. We are not in a position where we are making high profits. We are squeezed between rising costs and competitive pressures. We are continuing the season in a tight spot.”

He noted that Türkiye has lost its price advantage against competitors like Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and even Greece.

Destinations like Çeşme and Bodrum face challenges

Regarding whether the decline in Çeşme is related to the recently discussed visa policy for the Greek Islands, Meriç stated: “These destinations have different customer profiles. Destinations like Çeşme and Bodrum offer very different products. The customers who go to the Greek Islands are not the same as those who go to Çeşme. But the main reason for the decline in Çeşme and Bodrum is that their customer base is now preferring foreign destinations.”

If this trend continues, well-known destinations like Çeşme and Bodrum will continue to lose customers. This decline is also being observed in Antalya, where occupancy rates have significantly dropped. Despite high hopes for the season, it seems unlikely that Türkiye will achieve high numbers in tourism.

No change is expected in price policy

Regarding whether there will be a change in pricing policies for hotels and restaurants, Meriç expressed doubt. “It’s unlikely, given the high costs. A waiter’s cost has reached 60-70 thousand TL. With such costs, changing the price policy is questionable. Regions like Çeşme and Bodrum make money only for four months a year – June, July, August, and September. We have already entered that period, and I don’t believe there will be any change in the price policy.”

Editor: Haber Merkezi